- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A former Tulsa County volunteer sheriff’s deputy mistakenly pulled his weapon when he shot a man in 2015 and the shooting was “excusable homicide,” defense attorneys told jurors in his trial Wednesday.

Final members of the jury were selected before both sides presented their opening statements in Robert Bates’ trial Wednesday afternoon, the Tulsa World reported (https://bit.ly/26fInyq).

Bates has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris during an undercover gun-sale sting. Prosecutors say Bates, 74, shot Harris, 44, while Harris was on the ground and being detained by deputies.

Prosecutors spent about 15 minutes on opening statements, according to the newspaper. Defense attorneys took about 45 minutes, during which they said Bates made a “mistake” that was an “accident” that led to “excusable homicide.”

Jurors saw three videos, including the undercover drug transaction, undercover gun buy and one that included the shooting.

After opening statements, Judge William Musseman called a recess, during which the courtroom was locked, according to the newspaper.

Harris’ brother, Andre Harris, said those outside the court were told they couldn’t re-enter because the jury had returned. Sheriff’s Deputy Lance Ramsey, who led the operation that ended in Harris’ shooting, had been expected to testify.

Bates faces up to four years in prison if he’s found guilty. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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